1 Samuel 17:11 (NKJV) 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
We have been talking about how the Bible teaches that the church of Jesus is a people who live in a time of war not a time of peace. As such we must be aware of what Peter said in 1 Peter 5:8-11. We have an adversary, the devil. This adversary has an agenda and that is to hurt God by dominating his family. He wants to control their character, there lifestyle and their destiny.
The war we fight is a war to bring more people into relationship with the Lord. It is a war to resist the temptation in our own lives to do things that open the door to the influence of the devil both personally and corporately. It is a war to influence society towards God while the devil is working to push it away from God. We are the only ones who can fight this war and we must remember that.
In looking at the story of David and Goliath, we find that Goliath is a type of our enemy. We will look at David who is a type of how we can win what seems, at times, to be an unwinnable fight. What about the other characters in the story? We can learn from them how the enemy works to influence us so we will either not fight or fight in such a way as to make losing inevitable. The first group I want to look at is the Hebrew Army.
From today’s scripture, we find that the whole army of Israel, including King Saul, was greatly afraid. The interesting thing to remember is that they had all they needed to defeat the Philistine army. How do we know that? We know it because when they finally fought, they did just that! Goliath was one soldier. When David defeated him, it did not make the whole Philistine army vulnerable in a way they were not before. The truth is that they could always have won the battle. All they had to do was fight.
Why were they so afraid? The answer is intimidation. Our adversary goes about as a roaring lion, but the New Testament teaches that he has been disarmed (Col. 2:15.) The only weapon left to Satan is deception. Part of deception is intimidation. The army of Israel was intimidated because they were focused on the power of Goliath not on what they had at their disposal. That is what makes David’s Words so important to us. He called Goliath an “uncircumcised Philistine.” Why was that important? Circumcision was the sign of the covenant. If Goliath was uncircumcised it meant he had no covenant with God. David understood that no natural power could stand in the face of Israel’s covenant partner. He was not depending on natural weapons. He was depending on Israel’s covenant with Almighty God. That was his focus.
The more we focus on the roar of the lion, the more we believe in the power of the lion. We look at the problem and begin to imagine what might happen. In the case of the Army of Israel, they probably began to think that all the Philistines were giants like Goliath. They were not. They were normal people just like the Israelites except without a covenant partner in God.
The truth is it did not matter whether they were all giants or not. God was on the side of Israel because of their covenant. All they had to do was trust in that truth and something good was going to happen. Paul understood this when he wrote the book of Romans.
Romans 8:31 (NKJV) 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
What a powerful statement. If God is for me, who or what can possibly prosper against me. It does not matter what I face. God is for me! As we read on in Paul’s letter, we find that even when things looked bad in the natural, Paul understood that if God was for him, he was more than a conqueror even in the middle of trial. Nothing the devil did to Paul kept him from accomplishing his great commission from the Lord. When it was finished, he went to where he always wanted to be. He went into God’s presence for all eternity.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NKJV) 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
The Israelite army was afraid because they were focused on the size of the problem. They allowed themselves to be intimidated by a roaring lion who did not have the power to defeat them. What did David’s victory really do? It did not change the numbers in any significant way. The death of Goliath had no military effect on the potential outcome of the battle. What David did was change the focus of both armies.
For the Israelites, David showed them that what they had was far greater than the power of a giant. Their covenant, as applied by David, defeated the worst that the enemy had to offer. In that moment they remembered who they were and more important whose they were. That is why they were no longer afraid and that is why they attacked. When they did, they won the victory.
For the Philistines, David’s victory proved what I think they already knew. They sent Goliath out because they knew that the God of Israel was more powerful than anything they could bring to the battle. If Goliath could get Israel to agree to the terms he shouted at them, then the Philistines would win. If they had to fight and Israel’s covenant partner got into the battle, they knew they had lost before it began.
As you face the roaring lion of your battle, where is your focus. Are you focused on what the lion says could happen? Are you focused on how big the problem is? Are you focused on how weak you seem to be? All of them will lead to defeat. Either you will not fight, or you will fight without confidence. Either way you lose.
If you change your focus you cannot lose. You already have everything you need to win.
2 Peter 1:3-4 (NKJV) 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Focus on the presence of God in your life. Focus on the great and precious promises that have been given to you in the Word. Focus on what God has already done in your life and not on what the enemy says he will do. Once your focus is right you can prove what the devil already knows. Jesus is alive and well and nothing can stand against the power of God’s covenant in your life.
Ephesians 3:10 (NKJV) 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,
Once our focus is where it belongs, we can do what David did. We can run to the battle instead of away from it. When we do, we will win a great victory in this war. I believe that victory can be for our own lives and needs. However, I also believe that when we win any victory over the kingdom of darkness, we take ground from the devil and open the way for someone to see that God is alive and involved in the lives of people. When that happens, we can share the wonderful Gospel with them and see more and more children come back into the kingdom of God.